Baseball back on track with win streak, sweeps ECU

By Jared A’Latorre, Sports Editor

The OBU baseball team is on the way to success with five straight victories after dropping six straight games.

The Bison went to Weatherford to take on Southwestern Oklahoma State.

It was a tight game throughout the day, but the Bison got going later. Eric Carlson hit home run to tie the game in the sixth inning.

The Bison took a 4-3 lead after Brett Bloomfield earned an RBI single.

The seventh inning brought more success for the Bison with Kaimama Bartolome bringing in P.J. Harris on a single.

The Bison were also able to score off errors in the seventh inning.

After SWOSU scored in the bottom half of the seventh, the Bison went on a tear in the top eighth inning.

Jake Gozzo and Bartolome homered in the inning to give the Bison a comfortable lead. Joey Pledger would connect on a single to bring his man in, and the Bison were clicking on all cylinders.

The Bison ended the game securing a 16-8 win.

Their next game was against Northeastern State.

The Bison were not to be messed with this time around and got started early with a run off a fly-out.

Harris scored that run to put the Bison on the board. The second inning is when the Bison took off with the bats swinging with confidence.

Harris, Carlson and Bartolome all connected on RBI doubles. Later in the game, Gozzo hit a two-run homer to make the game 10-0.

It was never a contest, with the Bison taking it by a score of 16-0.

Caleb Bly earned the win in a shutout, 16-0. Andrew Eppenbach and Thomas Schroder also saw the mound. Gozzo went two for three on the day including a home run. Bartolome went three of five with a double. Bloomfield went perfect on the bats, four for four.

The Bison went on another avalanche when they went back home to face East Central University.

The Bison got on the board early with Gozzo hitting a two-run homer. They would not let up in the third inning by earning three runs. The Bison kept their bats swinging in the fourth inning. A run was scored off a stolen base by Bartolome.

Garrett McKee would score on a two-run homer.

The only ECU run would be an RBI single.

OBU would add on with RBI singles from Harris and Bloomfield. A.J. Merkel picked up the win.

The next day, OBU hosted the doubleheader against ECU once again.

The Bison were firing in the first inning once again.

The highlights of that first inning were hits from Bartolome and Pledger to extend the lead early to 5-0.

The Bison kept adding on early in the game with a home run from Gozzo. Bartolome connected on a solo home run in the fifth. Harris hit a two-run homer in the sixth.

The game would last seven innings with the Bison taking it, 14-4. Jake Lipetzky picked up his fourth win of the season.

In their second game of the day, the Bison once again got off to a fast start with Carlson hitting a three-run home run.

ECU would answer with six runs in the second inning so the Bison would be forced to step up.

They took the lead in the third with solo home runs from Carlson and Bartolome.

ECU would tie it again, but the Bison would retake the lead off a single from Ramon Enriquez.

The Bison would hold on to secure another 16-8 win. Carlson went four for four in that match.

The Bison are coming off a hot streak and will hope to continue until the end of the season.

The seniors were recognized in the ECU series for their contributions.

They will face South-ern Nazarene next weekend in Bethany.

Bison Baseball in slump after 20th victory

By Jared A’Lattore, Sports Editor

After earning a key 20th victory, the Bison baseball squad has suffered six straight losses including a high scoring affair against Oklahoma Christian.

Both teams went at it right from the get-go in Shawnee. Oklahoma Chris-tian took a 2-0 lead in the top half of the first inning.

Jake Gozzo was the first to get his team on the board on an RBI single.

In the second inning, the Bison would continue hitting well with a Joey Pledger three-run homer. They took a 4-2 lead with this homer.

In the next inning, it was Kaimana Bartolome to add to the lead with a solo shot. The Eagles would fight back later on.

In the fourth inning, the Eagles would take a lead off a single and a three-run homer. The Bison would earn runs in the bottom half of the fourth.

After the Bison would load the bases and eventually tie the game, Pledger hit a grand slam to take an 11-7 lead. This was the second home run for Pledger in the contest.

In the fifth inning, the Eagles would score off a two-run homer. The score would be cut to 11-9 but not for long.

In the bottom half of the fifth, P.J. Harris scored off a solo homer. Kaden Betsch would contribute with an RBI single. Betsch also took advantage off a wild pitch and scored. The score was 16-9 and the Bison were rolling.

The Eagles would come storming back with three runs scored in the inning. The Eagles would score more runs off triples and errors from the Bison.

With efforts to stop the mad come-back, the Bison scored off another home run by Joey Pledger.

In the eighth inning, the Eagle come-back would continue with an RBI double and more errors from the Bison. The game was tied at 17 in the eighth inning.

In the ninth, the Eagles would close it out with RBI singles and triples to eventually win the contest. The Bison came up short in the bottom half. The Eagles won the game, 21-17.

Despite the loss, Jake Gozzo finished with two of four in that game. Joey Pledger went for three home runs and went three of five on his at-bats. Eric Carlson had his thoughts on the slump for the Bison so far.

“We just haven’t been taking care of the little things the last four games,” Carlson said. “And we haven’t put all aspects of the game together in them, pitching, defense, and hitting.”

The scoring was there, but the defense was not the same by allowing the Eagles with opportunities.

“We hit well, we just didn’t hold them down we scored, Carlson said. “We gave them too many free bases and gave them too many opportunities to come back into the game.”

If the offense can execute as well as before but do their job on the other side of the ball, the Bison can see more going their way to come.

“We need to take care of the baseball and eliminate free bases this upcoming series, if we can do that and have our bats stay hot, then we will be in good position to win,” Carlson said.

The Bison went to SWOSU over the weekend for doubleheader action.

SWOSU came out the gates with scoring six unanswered runs to open up the game.

The score was 6-0 by the sixth inning and the Bison were looking for an answer.

In the seventh, Carlson answered with a two-run homer. Pledger connected on a double to score in a run. SWOSU scored two runs in the bottom seventh after an error. The Bison fell short of that game, 8-5.

In the second game, Carlson hit a three-run homer in the first inning of the contest.

In the third inning, SWOSU took the lead 5-4 off a single.

In the fourth, Pledger connected on a two-run homer to take a 6-5 lead. In the bottom half of the fourth, SWOSU scored off hits and an error. They won the second game, 9-6.

The Bison have fallen six straight contests and will play three games against ECU at Bison Field in Ford Park this weekend.

Remembering a legend: Campus mourns loss of acclaimed swim coach Dr. Sam Freas

By Jared A’Latorre, Sports Editor

A friend. A leader. A man of the Lord. An amazing legacy.

Legendary swimming and diving coach Dr. Samuel Freas passed away Sunday, Mar. 24 at the age of 72.

Freas has made an outstanding legacy on Bison Hill. He was responsible for founding the swim and dive program in 2011.

Since the creation of the team, Freas has led OBU to seven national championships in NAIA competition.

After moving up to NCAA Division II, Freas’ swimmers have won individual national championships in different competitions.

The Bison and Lady Bison finished fifth overall in the national contest.

Before making his way to founding the swim program at OBU, he was known for his remarkable achievements with LSU, Arkansas, Hawaii and Allegheny. Freas was also an author of many influential swimming books.

Freas was involved with his occupation internationally as well.

He coached the South African Olympic swim team as well as serving as CEO and President of the International Swimming Hall of Fame for 15 years.

Robert Davenport, OBU’s athletic director, talked about the fun side of Freas and his demeanor toward people.

“Coach was always fun to be around,” Davenport said. “One of his many nicknames was the Big Kahuna.”

People involved with swim knew his name, including people from across the world.

“There was no question he impacted the culture here at OBU,” Davenport said. “Student-athletes came all over the world just to swim for him.”

While Freas was an advocate for making his players perform better in the pool, he was also just as concerned about their relationship with God.

“I remember that Sam was more concerned about his student-athletes spiritual life than anything else,” Davenport said. “Their relationship with the Lord was the most important thing to him, even more than swimming or graduating. He was a bigger-than-life personality and there was never a dull moment around him.”

Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Susan DeWoody also had a take on Freas and how his spirituality impacted those around him.

“One of the things about Sam is that no matter what he had going on, he was always concerned about other people,” DeWoody said. “He seemed more concerned on how I was doing than what he needed to bring for questions or whatever he needed for me in my role.”

With DeWoody focused on how to organize everything on Monday morning to bring the swimmers and divers together to cope with the pain, she did not begin to react for herself once everybody was brought in together.

“I don’t really think I began to really recognize until [I met] with the swimmers and divers that day,” DeWoody said. “I began to slow down and feel the impact.”

The next step for the swimmers and for Bison Hill is to remember Freas for the person he was.

“We’re going to celebrate his life in a big way,” DeWoody said.

Freas’s players were vocal about their thoughts after his passing.

Junior Felipe Ramirez Zapata from Columbia shared his first experience with Freas on how the toll from transitioning to school in new country was taken right off his back.

Freas was a huge icon for international students who came to OBU.

“I was a person that was worried too much about the details and with him I learned how to just and not think about it and that helped me a lot,” Zapata said.

Zapata talked about how you didn’t have to be skilled or gifted to be with Freas. If you have the spirit, the work will show.

“You just have to do the work and have fun,” Zapata said. “Not just me but the world lost a person full of love. That guy would do anything for his people he was loyal to death and I admire that of him.”

Alike with many others, Zapata expressed his thoughts on Freas and his spiritual life which is what people will remember about him most.

“His advices about life and about following Je-sus Christ, he was one of the persons that had an answer to everything and those advice helped a lot in every situation he was more than a coach, he was a guide for every single person in the team,” Zapata said.

Other students talked about Freas and his attitude toward the game.

Freas wanted to make it all about the players and credit them for their hard work.

Senior swimmer Jonathan Stewart expressed Freas’s view on individual accomplishments from his players.

“Sam never wanted an award for all of his coaching accomplishments and there were a lot that wanted to give him awards because of the fabulous coach he was,” Stewart said. “He always said it’s about the kids, let them get the awards because they’re the ones who deserve them.”

Graduate of OBU Jennette Lucia Morales talked about how Freas was more than just a coach. He was a mentor, coach and a friend to his players, she said.

“As a swimmer, he gave me an opportunity and helped me snap out of my mentality of what swimming was supposed to be,” Morales said. “He always pushed my limits and had more belief in me than myself,” Morales said.

His current players and former players knew what he cared about most and that was the Lord.

“I believe for Sam it was more than just swimming; I think it was about forming whole thriving kind characters who put God first,” Morales said.

Freas is survived by his wife, Rosemary, his four children, and eleven grandchildren. He will be greatly missed across all of Bison Hill.

Baseball takes ECU, goes against Southern

By Jared A’Lattore, Sports Editor

The Bison baseball team took a big win against East Central University, while taking two losses and another win against Southeastern Oklahoma State. 

The Bison won against ECU two weeks ago on their home field, 13-2. There were five pitchers for the Bison combining seven strikeouts. They only gave up one hit to the ECU Tigers. P.J. Harris finished with a double, and Eric Carlson finished with two doubles. Brett Bloomfield finished was hot on the day, finishing with four at-bats and four hits. Bloomfield went for a triple in one of his hits and was not slowing down all game long.

Jake Gozzo hit a home run giving major momentum to the Bison. Pitcher Hudson Pearson picked up the win as a reliever, and the Bison won the game by a whooping 11 runs.  

During one of their road games against Southeastern, the Bison were staying in the game throughout much of the contest, even when they were down 2-0. Kiamana Bartolome hit a solo home run to cut the lead down to 2-1. Later in the game, Southeastern connected on a home run of their own and another score after that. Southeastern won that game, 5-1.  

During the first game of their doubleheader against Southeastern, the Bison were clicking on all cylinders just like they did a few days back. They won the game with multiple batters contributing. Bloomfield, Ramon Enriquez, Garrett McKee, Brock Carter, and Joey Pledger all hit for doubles in the game.

Harris, Enriquez and McKee all hit for home runs in the game. This was a rout for the Bison, 11-3. Thomas Shroder picked up the win. It was Shroder’s first win of the year.  

The second game of the doubleheader called for payback from Southeastern. Southeastern took a 9-0 lead by the fourth inning. 

Gozzo continued to show his worth with a home run shot in the game, but the Bison fell way short this time. Southeastern picked up an 11-3 win over the Bison.  

Shroder believes that the team has its strengths such as the pitching and the veteran leadership to show that the elite is rising again in 2019.  

“One [strength] being the 12 seniors, including myself, that we have on the roster who have all played together and know what it takes to win a conference tournament and play past that,” Shroder said. “Two, I think we have a deep pitching staff which is something that not having hurt us last year, as well as another very talented lineup.” 

With the season still young, the team is hoping to find its strength and use it to beat teams across the conference and so forth.  

I’m not too sure we have any glaring weaknesses, I think you’ll start to see several guys catch stride as the season goes along and we’ll continue to play knowing we’re the best team in the GAC,” Shroder said.  

Having the strength of not hitting balls, but the mental capacity in which they do it in is very important.  

“We know we’re talented enough as a team to beat anyone in this league at any given time and so it all comes down to having confidence in the work we’ve all put in and our approach when we get the ball/bat in our hands,” Shroder said.  

The team is all about taking one at a time to get back to where they were last year.  

“To get back to an NCAA Regional, we have to go take care of business this weekend at NWOSU and then continue to take the season one game at a time,” Shroder said. 

While the Bison would have loved to have a better start going into 2019, they understand that it is a process to be where they want to be like last season.  

There’s a lot of upside with this group and the coaching staff looks forward to the strides they’ll make throughout the season and the finished product we’ll end up with in May,” Assistant Coach Christopher Cox said. 

The Bison are looking forward to getting better whether it is in practice or games.  

“I think one thing that sticks out especially with the slow start we’ve gotten off to is their resilience,” Cox said. “They come to work every day hungry, looking to get this thing going in the right direction.” 

Cox notices how important the veteran leadership is to the squad. They will look to lead the team to another birth in the Division II postseason.   

“They understand the culture that’s been built here and understand its importance in the winning tradition the program has, Cox said. “Couldn’t be more pleased with this group of guys in how they represent the university, the coaching staff, and themselves.” 

 

Lady Bison softball takes one and loses one on home field

By Jacob A’Latorre, Sports Editor

The OBU Lady Bison softball team defended home plate in Shawnee for the first time against Colorado Christian University in back-to-back games during the week.  

The match on Tuesday and Wednesday night brought an emotional aspect to the game with Coach Maples facing her former squad.

The game was quiet up until the fourth inning when CCU hit a two-run homer to make the score 2-0. In the fifth inning, Shelby Savage connected on a triple, bringing in two runners to tie the game.

Later in the inning, McKenna Anderson earned an RBI on a hit toward left field. With that hit, OBU took the lead, 3-2. Later in the fifth, Anderson was at bat once again and acted calm on a wild pitch where OBU scored again and the game was 4-2.  

In the next inning, CCU scored on a fly out and only trailed by a run. The OBU pitching did their job toward the closing moments of the game and was able to get the win, 4-3. 

Assistant coach Jade Rhodes thinks the team is connecting well with the coaching transition.  

The team as a whole has come together very well, us being a new coaching staff you always have that worry if the girls will adapt,” Rhodes said. 

Rhodes thinks that the team learns more than just the physical side of earning hits and fielding balls.   

“I love coaching these girls because they actually want to learn more about the mental side of the game instead of relying solely on the physical aspect of the game.” 

Rhodes has a very close friendship with Head Coach Samantha Maples and thinks that their chemistry can lead them to success on the team.  

“Coaching alongside [Coach Maples] is a blessing itself but being able to grow my faith at OBU has been a blessing for myself,” Rhodes said.  

They were once separated but now they are back doing what they love most.  

“You never know what God has in store for you, Coach Sam and I parted ways when we went to college, but God had a plan for the both of us and being able to coach next to her has been the best I could ask for,” Rhodes said.   

In the next game on the day after, the Lady Bison went down, 9-1. The only bright spot was early in the game when Demi Dobbs hit a solo home run to tie the game at 1-1. Colorado Christian scored eight runs unanswered to win the game, 9-1.  

Last Friday, the Lady Bison went to Tucson, Ariz. to take on Biola University. The Lady Bison were down 1-0 in the first inning. Franki Hull singled and Bry Flanagan got hit by a pitch giving the Lady Bison room to score. They came back and took the lead with Savage and Kristen Grabin walking in runs to make the score 2-1. 

From there, Biola earned runs on three home run shots. They scored nine consecutive runs and taking a commanding 10-2 lead. Anderson doubled to score a run and Flanagan homered with a chance to get back in the game, but it was not enough. The Lady Bison would go down by six runs.  

Rhodes puts the emphasis on wanting to put the mental capacity on the game.  

“Everyone can go out and try to field a ball or swing a bat but it’s the thought process behind fielding a ground ball and your thought process when you’re approaching the plate for your at-bat,” Rhodes said.  

The next game was against Black Hills State University where the Lady Bison went down by a score of 2-0.  

Last Saturday, the Lady Bison were still in Tucson to take on Texas-Permian Basin. Both teams got off to good start with the game being 2-2 at the end of the first inning. Cheyenne Demaree recorded an RBI single and Flanagan recorded an RBI double.  

With the Lady Bison being down 5-2, the Lady Bison scored off a walk, a sacrifice groundout and an RBI double from Grabin. The game was tied at five going into second half of the sixth inning.  

Texas-Permian Basin scored off singles in the bottom half of the sixth inning to make the score 7-5. In the top seventh, hits from Demaree and Flanagan were the key to win the game for the Lady Bison and hold on by a score of 9-7. 

With the Lady Bison at a 4-5 record, they will look to get back to a .500-win percentage against Northwestern Oklahoma State this weekend.   

 

   

 

Bison baseball back after success in 2018

Jared A’Latorre,

The Bison baseball team is back in 2019 after a successful season ending against the University of Central Oklahoma in the regionals back in 2018.  

On a chilly Friday evening to begin the season, the Bison faced off against Missouri Western where they didn’t seem to miss a beat from 2018. In the first inning, junior Ramon Enriquez attempted to hit the ball but fouled out. This gave freshman center fielder Joey Pledger a chance to score and to give the Bison a one-run lead. Later in the first, senior first baseman PJ Harris earned an RBI on a base hit, allowing senior shortstop Brett Bloomfield to score and make it a two-run Bison lead.  

In the bottom second inning, Bloomfield grounded out but helped bring junior Eric Carlson to home and the Bison led by three.  The next inning, Missouri Southern found their first run of the game of a fly out and got on the board.  

Both teams were quiet until the seventh inning. Enriquez was able to come up big again on an RBI single. Harris contributed on an RBI double, and Carlson was able to allow senior Austin Cooper and Enriquez to score on an out. 

Missouri Western scored a couple more runs in the eighth inning. They attempted for a last gasp of hope in the ninth inning, but the Bison held on to win by a score of 7-3. Junior Jake Lipetzky got the win with one run allowed. Lipetzky pitched for five innings.  

The next day the Bison took on a doubleheader rematch with Missouri Western and took the first of the second game. 

In the bottom first inning, the Bison got on the board early with a two-run homer from senior right fielder Jake Gozzo. Later in the game, Missouri Western earned hits later on the game and took a 3-2 lead by the fourth inning. The lead started to strengthen by the gap by the fifth inning with a solo home run.  

In the bottom sixth inning, Harris hit a two-run homer to tie the game. In the top seventh inning, there was a double from Missouri Western and then a home run. They took a three-run lead. In the bottom seventh inning, the Bison went on a tear. Gozzo tripled and tied the game, 7-7. Enriquez earned an RBI double and Gozzo scored. Chase Kerr earned an RBI single. Garrett McKee scored off a two-run homer.  

In the eighth inning, Gozzo put the icing on the cake and doubled and earned and RBI bringing in two. The Bison won the game, 13-7.  

In their second game of the doubleheader, Missouri Western scored off a two-run homer. In the fifth inning, the errors by the Bison defense allowed their opponents to score and the score was 4-0. In the fifth inning, the Bison scored off walks on two occasions, but it was not enough to win the game. Missouri Southern won the second game, 4-2.  

The Bison went on a tournament in North Texas and played in a doubleheader on last Thursday, Friday and Saturday. In the first of two, they faced Oklahoma Christian University. Oklahoma Christian got off to a fast start in the first inning taking a 3-0 lead. By the second inning, they took a 6-0 lead and by the third inning, it was an 8-0 lead.  

In the fourth inning, the Bison started to get going with an RBI single from Gozzo. Enriquez connected on an RBI double. In the fifth inning, the Bison scored off a groundout. The Bison tried to get back in the game after a three-run homer from Gozzo, but they fell short, 10-7.  

The Bison lost both of their doubleheader games before taking their last game in Texas by a score of 11-1 against East Central University.  

The Bison stand with a 3-4 record and will face Southeastern Oklahoma State coming this Friday and Saturday. They will defend home plate against the University of Central Oklahoma Monday, February 11.   

 

Bison basketball wins big over Barclay

By Jared A’Latorre, Sports Editor

The Bison basketball squad showed heart and no disappointment in their season debut with a whopping 46-point exhibition win over Barclay College.

The crowd was up and ready for the Bison and for Head Coach Jason Eaker’s debut.

The Bison were having fun on all sides of the ball. On the perimeter, the shot was on.

On defense, they picked up some decent takeaways leading to easy scores.

Barclay was not shooting the ball that well, and the Bison took advantage of the off game for the Bears in the shooting game.

With many newcomers, the Bison looked like they were clicking every second.

Even though the new look Bison featured 10 new players, they handled the game well and performed like veterans.

Junior Dishon Lowery was working his opponents down low and came up extremely successful.

Lowery also finished with a double-double in the game.

Senior Davion Turner showed that he was aggressive down low and came up big on defense.

Sophomore Brantly Thompson was on the money with his shot from beyond the arc, and senior Antonio Wade finished in double figures and played splendidly on both sides of the ball.

Before the season began, Wade felt respected with the uniforms that his team received.

The uniforms look like they are ready to begin playing.

“I love the uniforms and warm-up gear we received, we look professional,” Wade said.

Wade was also praising his teammates for the good job they did in their debut. They were a force to be tested in the future starting with the blowout victory.

They shared the workload as a team and everybody seemed like the star.

“The guys were great, and everyone gave a good effort and played unselfishly, that’s all we can ask for every time we play,” Wade said.

He also praised the effort for his coach over the blowout win.

The Bison came into the game well prepared and it started with Eaker.

“Coach Eaker is very detailed,” Wade said. “He works assiduously to improve us in every aspect.”

Wade thinks that for his teammates to be better and for anyone that wants to be better is to be mentored by Eaker. The Bison seem lucky to have Eaker fall into the hands of the players of Bison Hill.

“Any player who wants to be great will develop great respect and appreciation for Coach Eaker,” Wade said.

One of the transfer players, Rashad Lewis, came to OBU and reunited with his assistant coach from Mercer University.

He felt that his team was really focused to come out and play.

“Going into the game, I felt extremely confident in our team,” Lewis said. “We have been working really hard in practice to prepare for it.”

Like his other teammates, he appreciated sharing the ball with his teammates with getting everybody in on the action.

“I enjoyed watching everyone play hard and unselfish,” Lewis said. “Multiple people were involved, and everyone was happy for one another success on the court.”

With Lewis now in a Bison uniform, he feels that the change is not much different as he thought at first.

Eaker was a former assistant at Mercer with Lewis on his squad. “It honestly doesn’t feel any different,” Lewis said.

His history with Eaker shows that they have chemistry on and off the court.

“At our previous school, coach was involved a lot and gave me instructions all through my two years of being there, so transitioning here just felt natural,” Lewis said.

The Bison will take the court in the GAC-MIAA matchup against Washburn and the University of Nebraska at Kerney on the road for Nov. 9